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Reviewed February 11, 2011

Stayed in a villa without butler service room was great the maid service was great as well room was always cleaned same time everyday. the only thing lacking was the beach wish we had more beach area but the pool was great. Food was good as well the buffet in the morning had lots of variety. Hired a driver to see the sites he was also good and when we went into Ocho Rios to shop he dropped us and asked what time to return we had no problems while shopping everyone was friendly Weather was not always sunny did have rain but when sun came out it was hot . Had 2 spa treatments as well they were heavenly . Would recommend this hotel as it was very relaxing and quiet.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank kathypipes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

My wife(a travel agent) and I left Montreal on the 31st of January. We left on time and arrived on time. After a short stay in the Sandals lounge at the Montego Bay airport we boarded for our 90 mile shuttle to the resort. The Red Hats do expect a tip for taking your luggage from the lounge to the bus, but a dollar or two keeps them happy, and you are on vacation so it is worth it. The driver also expects a tip, but once at the resort, you will have a hard time getting the staff to accept a tip.
The ride to the resort is a bit of an eye opener. Once you see where some of the locals live, it really makes you appreciate how overly friendly and eager to help the staff at the resort are.
Once at the resort we were promptly met with a friendly face and a cool towel. Our check in was so fast and easy. Our bags were taken to our room and were there before we got there after spending 30 minutes in the Concierge lounge with a cool drink learning a bit about the resort.
Our room, although slightly dated, was clean and spacious. The cleaning staff was great and did a wonderful job daily, leaving small notes and towel animals and flowers for us.
We booked a couples massage in the Red Lane Spa mid week. It was absolutely perfect. The staff does up sell their spa products, but easily take “no” for an answer. It is well worth the money to lay back and relax for an hour with your partner.
The breakfast and lunch buffets were great with lots of variety. On the manor side, for breakfast I would highly recommend an omelet. My wife loved the French Toast. Lunch also had lots of variety, something for everyone. At poolside, Dinos pizza was superb!
The bars throughout the resort were great and the bartenders were very entertaining. Bishop at the swimup bar on the Manor side was a blast!
For dinner we enjoyed two specialty nights, one being superbowl. The event staff made the night extremely entertaining.
We enjoyed dinner at Orchids, Valentinos, Neptunes and The Reef. Not a complaint about any of them. The meals were fantastic and the staff did everything right.
We booked a free photo session with Floyd for a sunset photo session. Not only did he take great photos but he gave us an educational tour of the resort and there was no pressure from him to buy photos. We did buy photos the next day in the form of a CD, with no pressure from anyone. It is worth 30 minutes of your time.
If there is anything that I can say that stood out for us at this resort, was the staff. No matter what the request, the staff did everything that they could to make it happen. They are so friendly and willing to help.
Our week went by so fast and we would love to go back!
You won't regret going to the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank garrahsj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

We are a married couple in our 30's. This was our first time to a Sandals resort and to Jamaica...we are not world travelers, nor do we stay in 5 star hotels, we consider ourselves middle class Americans. We liked the idea of an all inclusive resort and we were not disappointed! We booked our trip to Ochos Rios after working with a travel agent (which we highly recommend because they have been to all the resorts)
We were nervous about our decision after reading some of the real negative reviews on here...but PLEASE do not worry if you have booked your trip here - you are going to have an AMAZING time! Some people complain about this resort having 2 sides - the Riviera and the Manor. Our travel agent was very clear on this when we discussed a good Sandals resort for our interests - so do your homework first, then you won’t have a reason to complain - now on to it.
We were greeted at the airport and ushered to our transport without issue. The ride to the resort is about 90 minutes - that made for a long day of travel but well worth it when we arrived. Do be warned that the Jamaican people will tell you "We don't drive on the left side of the road...we drive on the open side!" And they are not kidding...that would be the worst part for us - the drive to the resort. Upon arrival, our room was everything we expected - we stayed oceanfront on the Riviera side and were not disappointed! Our concierge was awesome - always willing to meet our every need! The resort is clean, and beautiful! You are surrounded by lush landscape, amazing flowers, and lots of places to relax. If you want to be in the middle of all the action you can be - but you don’t have to be either! The resort is currently undergoing renovations but it never once bothered us. We appreciated the fact that they are updating the facilities to improve the vacationer’s experience. We could sleep just fine and were never woken up by noise. The beach is nice, and clean. I watched the staff hit the beach early each morning to make sure everything is ready for the day. It is truly amazing how hard each employee works to keep this well oiled machine running daily! There is nice shade on the beach which I really appreciated - I could sit on the beach and read, not feeling too overwhelmed by the sun. It never felt crowded - we never had to fight for a spot on the beach or to find a quiet place to relax. There were visitors from all over the world, all ages, all shapes and sizes. We both HIGHLY recommend the Water Sports area - specifically Sheldon. He was AWESOME to my husband and me. He befriended us one of our first days there and we made a point to see him daily because he was full of knowledge about Jamaica and just very cool to hang out with. We went snorkeling for the first time and it was the greatest thing we did while there - we went several times after falling in love with it! The food was better than I thought it would be - we were never hungry or thirsty...you can get food and drinks pretty much 24-7 at Sandals. We did not do any of the tours off site - we wanted to take it all in our first time to Jamaica. We hardly spent any money out of pocket - except for taxi tips, gift shop items, and high speed internet. The service we received at Sandals was exceptional and we are looking forward to our trip back next year!

Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
Thank prettykitty71778
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2011

My husband and I are returning Sandals customers having stayed at Sandals Whitehouse a year ago. We decided to come to Sandals Ocho Rios because we had family that would be staying at Beaches Boscobel and we wanted to be able to visit them for the day while on vacation. After reading some of the reviews on Trip Advisor we were a little nervous but once again, Sandals didn't disappoint.
After getting off of the plane in Montego Bay we made our way to the Sandals area of the airport where we were greeted by Sandals employees who took our bags and told us to go inside to use the bathroom and grab a drink and a snack. We did so (we took two glasses of Red Stripe each) and proceeded to the bus that would take us to our destination. There are men to help you with your bags who are not employed by the resort so they asked for a small tip and we were happy to oblige. After soaking up the sun for a few minutes while waiting for other guests to come to the bus, we loaded up and were on our way. Our bus driver was excellent and gave us a commentary on all of the buildings and sites we were seeing on our way to Ocho Rios (it was about a 1.75 hr trip). About half way through the trip we stopped at a little rest stop so guests could use the bathroom, streatch their legs, and grab a refreshment.
Upon arriving at the resort we pulled into what is known as the "Manor side" to drop off some of the guests. We then took the short trip across the road to the "Riviera side" where my husband and I were staying. We were greeted by friendly staff with almond scented cooling towels, a glass of champagne, and a warm "welcome home." I took the time to register online before we arrived so my husband and I didn't have any paperwork to fill out, we were seated in the comfortable lobby and given cool drinks while we waited the few minutes for our consierge to arrive. Tutti (our consierge) showed us to our room where our luggage arrived minutes after we did. She offered to show us the room, gave us her private phone extention and told us she could book any appointments at the spa, any excursions or anything else we could possibly need. We used her services many times during our stay and she and her co-workers were always more than happy to help.
I could go on and on in detail about everything we did and ate while we were there but instead I will just give you a summary of the high points (there were many) and restaurants. Places to eat: for breakfast on the Riviera side Bayside is open and on the Manor side it is the Market Place. Both are casual with buffets that include everything from fruit to cereal to hot food to smoked fish. They also have made to order omelettes, my husband's favorite. For lunch Bayside again is open on the Riviera side as well as Market Place on the Manor side. Once again it is buffet style with a wide variety of food and they usually have a daily feature like Mexican food one day and Asian food the next, etc. Otherwise on the Riviera side the Sand Trap Grill is open as well as the Manor House Grill on the Manor side. These both serve basic grill foods such as burgers and fries, jerk chicken and pork, beef and pork patties, d.i.y. nachos, fruit, and an excellent grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich. On the Manor side there is a small pizzaria open but we didn't get up there to try it, we heard great reviews. On the Riviera side, the barefoot bistro is open and has a variety of food. I had a grilled Salmon steak and my husband ordered a tuna melt along with salads. All of it was very very good. For dinner there are many many places open and I can say that we didn't have a bad meal at any of them. It is really hard to pick a favorite. You can have anything you want, no matter what mood you are in, chances are one of the restaurants will be serving what you are looking for. If you aren't in the mood for a sit-down meal go to one of the grills or participate in one of the festivals that are being celebrated. While we were there we went to a street jamboree, a caribbean beach celebration, and white night. All were put on by the resort on the resort with great food, drinks, entertainment, and socializing.
As far as activities, I am sorry to say that I can't tell you much of what went on on the Manor side of the resort. We stayed on the Riviera side and had such a blast. We swam in the ocean every day, they keep the swimming areas very clean. There are many pools to choose from but we preferred to park ourselves in front of Jamie's Sports bar where we enjoyed the ocean and many activities such as tie-dying, trivia, drink making lessons, dance lessons, name that tune, beer drinking contests, cooking demonstrations, etc. We also went snorkling a few times because we just love it. The playmakers (Josie, Analisa, Nastasia) keep things going and really make the vacation fun. The bartenders went out of their way for us...Charmaine and Anthony were the bomb!! Even the photographers are sweet and like to talk and get to know you! Watch out for Dalmar, he'll quickly be a friend :)
My husband and I can't say enough about the staff at this resort, they were the best group of people we have ever encountered. They were so nice and willing to help and really made us feel welcome. Our room was cleaned every day while we were at the beach and then the bed was turned down and the radio was turned on while we were at dinner or out for the night.
The only downer on this entire vacation was the way some of the other guests acted. For the first time in my life I was really ashamed of some Americans. Many of the other guests would get drunk and then come to dinner and be loud and would be yelling at the staff, basically ruining dinner of the other guests. One night at Valentino's a woman and her husband came in, she sent back almost all of her food (the same food that I was eating and thought was great), they texted and emailed on their Blackberries, she complained loudly about EVERYTHING and even went so far as to complain that ONE lightbulb in the restaurant was too bright and demanded that her waitor dim the lights of the entire place. Come on...really? At one point I threw my fork down and was about to say something but my husband calmed me down and talked me out of it. Another couple fought all though dinner and kept yelling at the waitor to hurry up. They checked their watches every five minutes and loudly complained about the service being slow. One night while we were watching some live music a group of what I would call red-necks were hollaring and grinding all over each other (girl on girl included). This was in the middle of white night where people get dressed up and come out for a chocolate buffet and live music. At one point one of the men yelled, "Sing it bwoy!!" I was soooo humiliated that my husband and I had to leave. What century are we in that people think it is okay to speak to other people like that?
If you want a vacation at an uber facy resort where people are going to be running running running to keep you happy...DON'T COME TO JAMAICA!! I dont think that "hurry" is in their vocabulary, it is just not part of the laid-back island lifestyle. Dinner might be an hour and a half affair but guess what...you are on VACATION...what else do you have to do? Sit there, enjoy the beautiful island, the warm weather, and some pleasant conversation with the people around you. We spend every day hurrying through life, when you are in Jamaica...calm down, slow down, and relax!! The people on this island have become my friends so please don't go to Jamaica to complain, rush people, be rude, and insult MY FRIENDS!! Just enjoy what they have to offer, be polite and respectful, and you will have the time of your life.
One thing I do have to mention is the construction. They are remodeling part of the resort so there are a couple of places that aren't accessble at the moment. They were working on the pier while we were there but finished it before we left. The rest of the construction is supposed to be done in the next couple of months. We heard a little hammering now and again but it isn't anything that would inhibit your vacation.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank onthego2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2011

this was our second year to this resort, they were making many updates from the previous year. The rooms were updated, very nice. They have made some changes that seemed to encourage you to have a butler, example: one of the pools they encouraged you to have a butler reserve a spot by the pool for the day, so if you were at this pool and someone reserved a spot there you would have to move, didn't care for this. They also have a new restraunt, they only butlered guests could go to, didn't agree with this either.
The staff at this resort are excellent, food is great.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank shellyMinneapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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